7/04/2009

Choosing a Resting Place: A Grave Decision

While we all revel in the vitalities of life, sometimes death comes up & slaps us in the face; tragic news of death & simple obituaries remind us that life is finite & we may never know when the end will come. Hence planning your resting place is a grave decision, you've to decide which method would suit your passing best. 

Gruesome topic, eh? But one I'm going touch on nevertheless. Let's have a look at the available choices.

Funeral service
  • Usually involves a viewing of the body, a formal funeral service including transportation & burial.
  • The most expensive method.
  • Includes embalment, selection of coffin & tomb stone, purchasing graveyard plot, etc.

Cremation
  • Body cremated shortly after death, no need for embalment. 
  • Cremated remains/ashes kept in a container at home/crypt in cemetery/temple or scattered in the deceased's favorite place.
  • A memorial service may be held

Besides these 2 main methods, there are other methods/issues to think about:

Organ donation
  • Organ donation is a gift of life. Anyone aged 18 yrs & above can sign up to be a donor. Minors will require the consent of their parents/guardians.
  • The organ(s) will be removed with great care by skilled surgeons to reduce scars on the body. The organ(s) will then be transplanted to patients.
  • You may learn more about the Malaysian organ donation campaign here & see the donor pledge form here
  • Organ donation is a voluntary act of kindness & medical treatment will not differ for a donor.

Body donation
  • Bodies are donated for the purpose of science & research, typically to medical centers.

After cremation...
  • It's a common practice to scatter your beloved's ashes at his/her favorite place; some people scatter them at sea (check out Neptune Society, Eternal Reefs), even launch them into space!
  • The carbon from the ashes can be converted into diamonds; there are 2 main companies specializing in this: LifeGems & Memorial Gems
  • Here In Spirit creates commemorative urns by firing a small sample of the ashes using the ancient Raku technique of glazing.

Colorful coffins
  • Featured by Carol Beckworth in the National Geographic magazine (Fantasy Coffins of Ghana,  Sept 1994, 120-32), the Ga coffins are created by creative & talented carpenters. 
  • These coffins are handmade & unique for their bright colors, giving them the nickname "fantasy coffins".
There are many choices out there to celebrate the memory of our loved ones & his/her preferences in death. 2 factors to consider while making your decisions are financial costs & effect to the environment. The best choice is the one that doesn't pinch your wallet too much & has minimal negative effect to the environment. 

My personal choice? I'm still thinking about it :)

3 comments:

aMMerZ said...

~hi~

Here i got 2 questions to ask u regarding your post;

1- What's the purpose of scattered the cremated remains/ashes to the deceased's favorite place? Is this some kind of death's ritual to the deceased or common practice like u mentioned? why?

2- Some donors claimed that they want to donate their organs for science & research (S & R) purposes once they die BUT if somehow this S & R fella misuse their organs for other purposes (money etc.), can the body be reclaim by the donor's family?? any proper channels to handle this kind of problem (if u know)??

~hope u can enlighten me with some knowledge u had in mind~

Dave said...

If you're going to be an organ donor, why not donate your organs to other donors? People who aren't prepared to share the gift of life should go to the back of the transplant waiting list as long as there is a shortage of organs.

Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. LifeSharers is a non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at www.lifesharers.org or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition.

Rowan said...

@Ammerz: My answers now are based on what I know, I haven't checked online for cross-reference...
1. People scatter the ashes at the deceased's favorite place because this is where he/she was happiest. It's full of positive energy & will brighten the memory of the deceased. It's usually done at the request of the deceased (or his family members), to honor his favorite spot.
2. I think in Malaysia, when you decide to be an organ donor, you can outline which organ/parts you would allow the authorities to take. Once they've taken the organ(s), the body will be returned to the family. As for foul play, the best way to protect from that is to go through the government, the site I mentioned is a good example.